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One of the greatest opening salvos of any band, Wire’s first three albums are all essential slabs of vinyl, and chart the legendary band’s development from sneering art-school punks to heroic post-punk pioneers. Hitting the racks in 1977, Pink Flag’s 21 songs spanned a mere 35.37. Yet this was no Ramonesstyle 1-2-3-4-athon, and its deconstructed punk was served up with an abrasive intelligence matched with invention and irony. Its impact spread far and wide, with Strange later covered by R.E.M. and Three Girl Rhumba a costly influence on Elastica. Chairs Missing arrived in 1978, and while a small semblance of punk remained, the band’s loftier ambitions provoked arty experimentation. The oblique pop of the album’s two singles, the dissonant I Am The Fly and the fragile Outdoor Miner, demonstrated how far they’d come. Named after the number of gigs the band had played in their career at the time of the album’s release, the post-punk threshold was fully crossed with 154, issued in 1979. The band now fully embraced the abstract and, instead of song fragments, Newman, Gilbert, Lewis and Gotobed were creating fully realised, complex soundscapes.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Long Live Vinyl - Jul-18
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